Revelstoke city briefs: invasive species pesticide use, plastic bag ban, Smart Cities Challenge

Plans for a plastic bag ban are early but moving forward. The city will explore the pesticide ban bylaw to integrate invasive species control. Revelstoke's Smart Cities Challenge proposal.

Revelstoke City Hall. Photo: Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

Revelstoke city council held a special council meeting on Tuesday, April 17. The meeting was changed from its regularly scheduled April 24 date as councillors are taking part in the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) convention, which is being hosted by the City of Revelstoke. Look for hundreds of politicians, municipal staff and other delegates from across the Southern Interior in town next week from Tuesday to Friday.

Here are some briefs from Tuesday’s council meeting:

City to explore cosmetic pesticide exemption for invasive species

Cosmetic pesticide use is banned in Revelstoke, but the city is now exploring revising the ban to allow for pesticide use for invasive species.

Revelstoke city council denied a request to allow individuals with a BC Residential Applicator Certificate (RAC) to apply legal domestic-class pesticides to their residential property.

A recommendation from the Environmental Advisory Committee to allow an exception to the pesticide bylaw to treat invasive species did get approval. There was some discussion around making sure revisions to the bylaw didn’t create unintended loopholes.

“Whatever system we put in place needs to be strict. I don’t have difficulty exploring the exception for invasive species, but only if it were changed so the wording is more specific,” said councillor Aaron Orlando.

Environmental sustainability coordinator Penny Page-Britton said there is a need to treat invasive species but specific wording is needed.

City of Revelstoke operations manager Darren Komonoski said the use of legal domestic-class pesticides could be helpful in the removal of invasive plant species such as Japanese knotweed.

Council endorses Smart Cities Challenge proposal

City council gave its approval for Revelstoke’s Smart Cities Challenge proposal, which will explore ways to improve the prosperity of Revelstoke. The Smart Cities Challenge is a nation-wide competition that encourages communities to use innovation and technology to solve long-term community challenges. Prize money for the challenge is between $5 and $50 million. If Revelstoke moves into the finalist category, the city will receive $250,000 to test the challenge concept.

“In addition to prize money a major benefit to participating in the Smart Cities Challenge is the opportunity to engage the community in discussion about who we want to be as a community in the future and how we can embrace smart technologies to make our community more resilient,” Nicole Fricot, director of economic development said in a report to council.

Revelstoke’s Smart Cities Challenge proposal seeks to use innovation and technology to close the gap between the calculated Living Wage and median incomes by 25% by increasing economic growth and reducing overall costs.

“One of the things is if we’re not successful, we’ve had so many great ideas come out of this that we as a community are going to be able to use going forward,” said councillor Connie Brothers.

Read Revelstoke’s Smart Cities Challenge proposal here.

 Environmental committee to explore plastic bag ban options

Revelstoke city council is tasking the city’s environmental committee with exploring options on banning or reducing the use of single-use plastic bags in the community. A report from city staff requested council ask the environmental committee to conduct necessary research and exploration of the potential ban.

Councillor Gary Sulz said he is in favour of a plastic bag ban, saying he has traveled to other cities where plastic bag bans are already in place.

“We have seen the introduction of environmental plastic bags that break down, but those take years to disintegrate,” said Sulz.

Council discussed the need for an educational component to be explored as part of a potential single-use plastic bag ban.